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Summer service projects for kids

Tiernan McKay is a freelance writer based in Denver, Colorado. Her writing has appeared in magazines such as Alive!, Occupational Health and Safety, Restaurants and Institutions, Tampa Bay and Arizona Woman. Right now, she is either ridi...

Teach your kids to give back

The long days of summer often provide some much needed down time for kids, but sometimes that downtime can lead to boredom.
Lulu Cerone

Proactively reduce the chance for boredom to set in by lining up some kid-friendly service projects this month.

At the age of 14, Lulu Cerone, founder of LemonAID Warriors, is making a huge impact on her community. What started four years ago as a school-wide fundraiser for Haiti earthquake victims has exploded into a major mission to encourage kids to embrace philanthropy. If you need inspiration to get started, Lulu can provide it.

Service: A part of life

Initially, it may take some prodding to convince your kids to dive into a service project. Once introduced to community service, many kids will follow Lulu’s footsteps, making serving others a way of life.

Part of Lulu’s mission is to encourage kids to throw “parties with a purpose” (otherwise known as Philanthro-Parties). “The goal is to turn any social gathering into an opportunity to contribute to others — and still have fun,” she says. “We don't add fundraising events to our lives. We put a twist on the family gatherings or social things we are already planning and we turn them into an opportunity to raise awareness or funds for a special cause.”

Read more about teaching kids the value of volunteering >>

Life lessons

Lisa and Lulu Cerone

Lulu’s mom, Lisa Cerone, has seen firsthand how a child can benefit from giving back. “The character-building benefits that go along with the actual service are enormous,” she says. “Your child's confidence will soar when she realizes she already has what it takes to be an instrument of social change.” One way to get your kids interested in service is to align a project with their interests. Let them participate in selecting or designing a project and they’ll be more likely to dive in. “I have witnessed, through Lulu's service projects, that when the girls come together to activate their passions into something positive for others, they are helping create positive self-esteem, acceptance and kindness within themselves,” says Cerone.

Read about selecting volunteer projects for your child >>

Summer service

Lulu Cerone - Lemon-Aid stand

Truly, there’s no better time than summer to jumpstart a life of service. Not only will you stave off the “I’m bored” song track, but you will also provide your kids with a valuable perspective on life. “Summertime is perfect for kids to get involved in service, because our schedules are freed up, it's a social time of year and outdoor activities are just fun in general,” says Lulu. Recently, Lulu teamed up with Monster High for the “Ghouls Helping Ghouls” campaign for which she’s created themed Philanthro-Parties centered around activities such as backyard barbecues, Memorial Day, Fourth of July and birthday parties.

Read about helping kids stay occupied >>

Start simple

Summer service projects don’t have to be elaborate to be effective and impactful. In fact, the simplest projects can sometimes be the most fruitful. “Here's a super easy summertime idea to give you taste of what is on the site. On a hot day, cool off with a bunch of your friends, at the beach or at a pool or in your back yard under the sprinklers,” suggests Lulu. “But ask them to bring two towels — one to use and one to donate to a pet shelter. Shelters can always use extra towels to keep the animals cozy.” The list of causes, organizations and people that can benefit from simple service projects is endless, so inspiration is all around — just in time for summer.

For more ideas and step-by-step instructions for planning service parties, be sure to visit the Ghouls Helping Ghouls website.

More about kids and community service

5 Ideas for Big Help projects
20 Ways your family can give back
5 Ways your kids can give back

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